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First Friday Coffeehouse opens season

By Staff | Sep 8, 2017

Chronicle photo by Jessica Sharpless Nashville-based trio Mean Mary & The Contrarys perform a set during the First Friday Coffeehouse season opener last week at Trinity Orchard House.

MARTINSBURG – When you initially walk into Trinity Orchard House for First Friday, you may think you’re in for a low-key social gathering with quiet guitars and a small cup of actual coffee. The truth, however, is so much more rewarding.

This gathering of artists and listeners – both local and regional – is now in its 12th season of showcasing talent and bringing enjoyment. Each secession has both open mic time for local performers, and a more well-known featured artist.

Last Friday’s featured performers were Nashville-based trio Mean Mary & The Contrarys. The trio of musical talent amazed the audience, and even got applauded to an encore number for their set.

Organizer and open mic performer Steve Warner performs multiple amazing feats with his original songs and his recruitment of feature performers. Warner is humble in his accomplishments, drawing attention to the rest of his event staff.

“We are non-profit, everyone here is a volunteer. The people serving the coffee and refreshments, the sound tech, the people collecting door donations – all volunteering their time,” Warner said.

Donations at the door are the only money being collected for First Friday, and proceeds go to cover costs of the event and the featured performers only. Warner finds his feature performers through his connections in the regional music community and groups like Folk Alliance.

“We have a very different environment here, it’s not a smokey bar or a java house really, it’s a listening room environment. This gives (the artists) a different experience to play in, where people really are just here to listen,” Warner said.

First Friday runs each month from September through June at Trinity Orchard House, with doors opening and sign-up for open mic slots beginning at 7 p.m. Open mic performances begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by the featured performers.

Those interested in First Friday can look them up on Facebook. The next First Friday event will be held on Oct. 1.

According to Warner, the goal for First Friday is to build community. He and his fellow volunteers have done just that, creating a space for performers – and their audience.